Aside from my counselor, women in group meeting and those I've met anonymously online, I haven't shared this with anyone. After typing that, it seems like a lot of people, but to put it in other words that better express the point I'm trying to make- I haven't discussed this with anyone who knew me before it happened. My husband has talked with our bishop and his dad, but otherwise the same is true for him.
I've desperately longed to reach out to a friend or family member. I've spent a significant amount of time pondering who I could trust with this information, to be understanding and supportive. The obvious answer for me was my older brother, who having endured trials of his own has been transformed into a more compassionate and non-judgemental person.
I approached Pete about talking with my brother and he was adamantly opposed to it. He suggested I ask my fellow group members what they thought, and perhaps ask my counselor her opinion. The first time I asked the women at group how they had handled this issue, I got mixed responses. Some said they had a trusted friend they shared with, others a sibling or parent. Some had kept the secret to themselves, loyal to their husband's requests for privacy.
My counselor gave me a vague and mixed response that suggested that doing so could be both harmful and helpful. Talk about confusing. She said "We discourage that, because often something called 'triangulation' takes place, where the involvement of a third party hampers the communication of the husband and wife... BUT we also believe it is important to find a long-term source of support and it is often difficult for the husband to fulfill this role because of his guilt and involvement."
I continued to pray and ponder. I finally decided on a compromise - and wrote out an email that was vague but explained to my brother that my marriage had been suffering, but we were seeking help. I didn't mention pornography, just that this last year had been extremely difficult for me and although I am optimistic and hopeful, I have suffered. Without posting the entire message here I feel I can not do it justice. But it was good. I did not send it to my brother but sent it to Pete instead.
He still refused.
I was devastated.
The longing I feel to share this burden with someone who knows and loves me is intense.
When he denied my request again I couldn't imagine the longing would ever go away until I could finally release this secret.